Featherstone Rovers boss Sean Long: 'We didn't respect the ball enough'

​Featherstone Rovers head coach Sean Long admitted he was left frustrated by his team’s performance as they surrendered their unbeaten Betfred Championship record with a home defeat against likely promotion rivals Toulouse.
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​Rovers were level at 18-18 in the second half, but their visitors from France finished the game much the stronger to run out 36-18 winners.

In the process they ended Featherstone’s perfect record and gave themselves real belief that they can challenge Long’s men in the second half of the season.

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Rovers had been in outstanding form in recent matches, but were not allowed to hit the same heights this time as Toulouse reminded the players that there was still much work to be done if promotion to Super League was to be earned.

Featherstone Rovers head coach Sean Long. Picture: Paul ButterfieldFeatherstone Rovers head coach Sean Long. Picture: Paul Butterfield
Featherstone Rovers head coach Sean Long. Picture: Paul Butterfield

"​I’m obviously very frustrated,” said Fev boss Long. “We had a clear plan going into this game knowing how we wanted to play and we fell away quite short.

"Obviously it didn’t help losing your main half-back after five minutes and having to shuffle the decks, but there’s still no excuse for some key moments we missed, whether it was offensively or defensively.

"Ultimately if you give a team of the calibre Toulouse that much possession they’re going to post points.

"I don’t think we respected the ball enough.”

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Long is expecting bigger challenges from opponents now after opening their big lead at the top of the table.

He added: “Everyone is coming for us. It is an old cliche but we have just got to look after our own backyard and keep doing what we are doing and keep the standards up.

“I think performances are the key. If you keep speaking about winning too much it just doesn’t work out. But if everyone keeps chipping in with a 7, 8, 9 out of 10 performance then we won’t be far away.”

Featherstone are back at home again this Sunday when they host London Broncos and Long will be looking for a much more controlled display to start another unbeaten run.

The Broncos were well beaten 40-10 in the teams’ first meeting this season in April, but they have a recent victory over Toulouse to their name at the Summer Bash.